About the Match
Melbourne Stars will host the last year runner-ups, Hobart Hurricanes for their first BBL match this season at Melbourne on 20th Dec after losing to Adelaide Strikers by 8 wickets in the opening match of the series. Hurricanes had finished second after losing the finals to Scorchers in a scintillating finish and will be pumped up about their chances this season; Melbourne Stars have the home advantage but they need to put their recent defeat behind them and do better on Saturday.
It was a disappointing start to their BBL campaign with the entire batting line-up, except for Pietersen and Wright, buckling down and getting out for single digits; with only 148 runs to defend, the bowlers could hardly do enough to stop the Strikers from scoring the winning runs in the 13th over itself. John Hastings took two wickets but the others hardly made a dent on the opponents; the players will have to step up and shoulder the responsibilities equally here. While Pietersen looks good with his batting skills as he posted a well-made 66 off 46 balls, Wright kept the scoreboard ticking and scored a good 45 off 37 deliveries; the others should also come out with a positive mind-set to help the team build a good target or chase down totals with equal conviction. The team has star players like Maxwell, Hussey and Faulkner, who have displayed their hard-hitting skills time and again in this format of the game; they just need to stay focused and come out all guns blazing here.
George Bailey leads the side which has players like Shoaib Malik, Darren Sammy, Ben Dunk, Travis Birt and Alex Hales to name a few; all-rounders Tim Bresnan, Cameron Boyce, Tim Paine and Joe Mennie will add depth to the bowling squad with their skills. Bowlers Darren Sammy, Xavier Doherty and Ben Hilfenhaus will definitely attack the opposing batsmen with their precision and youngsters like Jake Reed, Jonathan Wells Sean Willis, Webster, Rainbird, Michael Hill and Timm van der Gugten will bring in more variety and energy to the team. Bailey has the work cut out for him but he has the required determination and talent to motivate his mates and start the series on a winning note. They have a good mix of batsmen and bowlers, who can give their best when required, and with a good strategy in place this team looks to be a tough challenge for any opponent.
While Melbourne Stars have lost their opening match, which puts them at a slight disadvantage for the match on Saturday, they definitely have the required talent to bounce back anytime; the Hurricanes have a clean slate and will be eager to do their best but it needs to be seen if they succumb to pressure tactics of the opponents. Though the match could swing either way, we feel that with the home advantage, Melbourne Stars clearly go in as favourites against Hurricanes.
Melbourne Stars, 1.61 @ Bet365